Tracking Mood – March Health Challenge

In March, Annie and I decided to track our mood several times a day on a scale of 0 to 10 to see how we were feeling. Little did we know the world was about the change. I had long wanted to do mood tracking and when I mentioned it to Annie, her eyes lit up as it fits with her schooling in Psychology.

It took a bit to find an application that worked easily and allowed for a larger scale than just a one through five that most applications seemed to have. In the end we settled on Mood Log created by AR Productions.

Starting March 1st at eight in the morning, we started tracking when we woke up, at eleven in the morning, two-thirty in the afternoon, six-thirty in the evening and then before bed, typically around eleven at night. I felt like that five data points per day should give enough insight into how we were feeling, but the application only allowed for three reminders per day maximum and those reminders were silent, with just an icon showing up on our phone’s status bar, so we had to set-up alarms.

By the end of the month, I was very happy to turn off those alarms.

Over the month of March, I collected 154 data points. My average mood ended up being a 5.6 out of 10, which is higher than I had expected. I have struggled with depression and anxiety for over twenty years now and so I assumed that at best I would get an average of around 5, so to get through the month self-assessing at an average of 5.6 seems great to me.

As you can see from the above image, I did have some down points as well as some high points. I never reached a zero, as in my mind that was “I give up, I’m going to completely shut down” and a ten was a level of elation that I’d save for something super special, but nothing ever happened that pushed me to either extreme. I do know that one of my tracking points that shows a nine out of ten was due to finding out our offer on a house got accepted, but I’ll talk more about that soon.

You can, however, see a noticeable dip around March 21st, where I found it difficult to stay positive. Previous to this challenge, I had been ranking myself on a positive five to negative five scale which fits on this scale very nicely with five being a middle of the road, not positive, not negative moment. So to see so many data points below that mark was a little rough, but I was honestly feeling really rough around that point. I don’t think it was specifically related to what’s happening in the world, but I know that it didn’t make it any easier to deal with my “Darker mind”.

Annie averaged a much higher 6.5 over the course of the month, but felt that was lower than she was expecting. It is interesting to me the perspectives we have on the data we collect. Another interesting thing to me is that her tracking never fell below four, so while she did have some data points that were her not feeling great, she didn’t have the emotional range that I seem to go through. She couldn’t say for certain why that was other than to point out that most of her tracking first thing in the morning, where she’s unhappy to get up and get out of bed, might have skewed her results lower than she anticipated. She also went through a down slide near the end of the month as we geared up for quarantine. As someone that’s an extrovert, this whole change has been very hard on her.

In the end, I feel like we learned some interesting things and we will have to spend more time pouring over the data we collected.

April Challenge – 200,000 Steps

In April, we are doing a step challenge, which wasn’t my first choice for this month, but the state of the world means that I don’t have access to the apartment gym.

Our goal is 200,000 steps over the course of April. This shouldn’t be too hard, except that we can’t go mall walking, we don’t have anywhere to go when walking, so all of our walking is pretty much just taking Luna out around the back streets late in the evening.

This whole pandemic thing can stop any time now…

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